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Sales tax dip has Brownwood officials closely watching budget

By Shenna Stout, sstout@ktxs.com
Published On: Feb 20 2013 07:41:13 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 21 2013 08:40:50 AM CST
BROWNWOOD, Texas -

Sales tax collections are down in Brownwood, while much of the state is experiencing increases.

That has gotten the attention of Brownwood business owners and city leaders.

Normally, February is the month for sales tax numbers to be up, because it represents Christmas sales in December.

This year, however, that's not the case.

According to the city, sales tax revenue is down nearly 2 percent compared to this time last year, putting the city's budget down about 5 percent overall.

"We budgeted just a minimum 2 percent increase," City Manager Bobby Rountree said.

The city now plans to take steps to recover the budget.

"We'll look at our capital purchases, our large items. We'll just hold off, we'll postpone purchasing those and we'll see how the sales tax goes," Rountree said.

Wally's Card and Party Factory in Brownwood noticed the decrease in sales around Christmas.

"It was down compared to last year, going through the computers and checking the numbers. It's just customer count is less and the dollars they're sending are less," store manager Margaret McGuire said.

Is there a reason why spending has been more conservative this year?

"We've kind of kicked that around, and of course, it was right after the presidential election, and quite frankly there might be a lot more online shopping that goes on," Rountree said.

Whatever the reason, the city and Wally's Card and Party Factory are optimistic sales will turn around.

For the 2012/2013 fiscal year, the city of Brownwood has received nearly $1.9 million in sales tax after it budgeted nearly $2 million, putting the city about 4.8 percent under budget.